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Cut Your Losses on Poor Prospects

By: Joyce Hayne

All salespeople love prospects who are always friendly, talk with us whenever we call, and are happy to meet for lunch or coffee. However, if some of these prospects aren’t well qualified, we could be wasting our time. This nice person may not be the decision-maker or may not tell you that they’ll never be able to afford your product.

It’s important that you don’t overvalue friendliness, because as fun as it is to deal with nice people, that’s what we have friends for. In sales, we have to be objective and evaluate if the product or service is a good fit with the prospect. We also need to ensure we’re dealing with the individual who can make a decision to buy, has the money available to purchase, and is prepared to commit to a time to buy.


For the sales rep who prides herself on being tenacious, it can be difficult to give up on a prospect, after she has committed a lot of time to the account. However, it’s better to cut your losses than waste more time with someone who will never buy.


If a sale has stalled, evaluate all the objections standing in the way of closing the sale and determine if you can overcome them. Sometimes, it’s helpful to review what’s been happening with the account with someone else on your team, who may have a more objective view of the situation. You may find that the objection is unsurmountable, and the best decision is to walk away and pursue another piece of business. Your time is extremely valuable, so don’t waste it on a poor prospect.